Jane Hong

Jane Hong
Associate Professor, History
B.A. Yale University; A.M., Brown University; A.M., Ph.D., Harvard University
Appointed In: 
Swan Hall #310

On leave for academic year 2021-2022

Jane Hong is a historian of U.S. immigration and engagement with the world, with a focus on Asia after World War II. 

Hong’s first book, Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), situates the transnational movement to repeal America’s Asian exclusion laws in the context of black civil rights struggles at home and U.S. military intervention in a decolonizing Asia. It argues that repeal was part of the price of America’s postwar empire in Asia. Even as the United States expanded its power over Asian peoples, the demands of building and sustaining this imperial reach compelled U.S. officials to respond to the antiracist and anticolonial demands of nonwhite peoples—if only in the most symbolic and performative ways. A multi-archival study, the book draws upon research conducted in the United States, India, and the Philippines.

Hong’s current book project (under contract with Oxford University Press) uses the history of Asian American evangelicals as a lens to explore intersections of race, religion, and politics since the 1970s. Model Christians, Model Minorities: Asian Americans, Race, and Politics in the Transformation of U.S. Evangelicalism (title tentative) considers how post-1965 Asian immigration has changed U.S. evangelical institutions and politics. Asian Americans are currently the fastest growing racial group in the country, with more immigrants coming to the United States from Asia than from anywhere else in the world. They are also one of the fastest growing populations within U.S. evangelicalism. Today Asian Americans lead the National Association of Evangelicals, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Evangelicals (now, Christians) for Social Action, among other flagship organizations. Yet little is known about them and their history in the United States. Drawing from archival research and over one hundred oral history interviews, Hong charts how Asians and Asian Americans have changed Christian higher education, parachurch organizations, church denominations, national evangelical organizations, and faith-based political lobbies. In so doing, her work connects two developments that have reshaped racial and religious politics in America over the past fifty years: the rise of the Religious Right and the demographic transformations resulting from the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.

Hong is committed to making U.S. history scholarship accessible outside the college classroom. A former high school teacher, she has led immigration-themed workshops and seminars for the Gilder-Lehrman Institute (GLI) of American History. In June 2018, she worked with thirty-three California public school teachers as lead instructor for a GLI seminar titled, “U.S. Immigration through a California Lens.” She has written for the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and consulted for television shows including Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (PBS) and American Idol (ABC). In 2020, she was featured in episodes 2 and 3 of the PBS docuseries, Asian Americans, which the New York Times called “the most ambitious documentary project ever to chronicle the history of the Asian-American community.” She currently serves on the executive board of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) and the Scholarly Advisory Board of the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. In 2021, Hong joined the editorial board of the Journal of American History, the flagship journal for historians of the United States.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, Hong will hold a Visiting Scholar Fellowship at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center and is the recipient of a sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute. She is also a 2021-2022 Public Fellow in PRRI’s Religion and Renewing Democracy Initiative.

Selected Publications

The Asian American Movement and the Church,” Journal of Asian American Studies 25:1 (February 2022): 63-95.

"What the Election of Asian American GOP Women Means for the Party" ("Made by History" column), Washington Post, March 8,2021

“In Search of a History of Asian American Evangelicals,” Religion Compass (December 2019): 1-9.

Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion (University of North Carolina Press, November 2019).

“’A Cross-Fire between Minorities’: Black-Japanese Relations and the ‘Empire Quota’ in the Postwar Movement to Repeal Asian Exclusion,” Pacific Historical Review 87:4 (Fall 2018): 667–701.

“Manila Prepares for Independence: Filipina/o Campaigns for U.S. Citizenship and the Reorienting of American Ethnic Histories,” Journal of American Ethnic History 38:1 (Fall 2018): 5-33.
*Winner of the 2017-2018 Qualey Memorial Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.

“The Origins and Construction of Korean America: Immigration before 1965,” in Brill Companion to Korean American Studies, eds. Shelley Lee and Rachael Joo (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Press, 2018), 3-20.

“The Repeal of Asian Exclusion,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History, ed. Jon Butler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

“The 1952 McCarran-Walter Act” and “Asian American Views of Incarceration,” in Densho Encyclopedia of Japanese American Incarceration.


HIST 102: United States Culture and Society II
HIST 208: Immigrants in America, 1492 to the Present
HIST 209: The United States in the World since 1900
HIST 300: History Colloquium: Histories of U.S. Empire
HIST 300: History Colloquium: Christianity and Politics in America since 1945
CSP 5: Racial Violence in US History and Memory